Bandit made a “squirrel run” yesterday morning. That’s what I call it when I look out the kitchen window at the bird feeder on the back porch railing, notice a familiar, very fat grey visitor with a luxurious tail dipping into my eight-dollars-a-five-pound-bag of hulled sunflower seeds, and whisper the magic words to my dog: “Hey Bandit, there’s a squirrel!!” The squirrel’s not a dumb fellow, and if the kitchen window’s open I don’t want to tip him off too soon by letting him overhear the plot.
This is the kind of thing that makes Bandit’s day. He’s eleven years old, and getting grey himself, and I think he spends most of his time otherwise pretty much just dreaming about chasing rabbits. His ears perk up when he sees me beckon with my finger, and the two of us jostle in the narrow back hall as I try to silently (ha! ha! ha!!) open first the main door and then the screen door to ambush our uninvited guest. The whole thing has the feel of being shoehorned into the starting gate at a racecourse…along with the horse! Between elbows, knees, tails, paws, doors and latches, the squirrel’s got a pretty good idea of what’s coming before Bandit ever hurtles noisily out of the gate. It’s a great spectacle that we repeat about twice a week, the squirrel making a successful mad dash for the trees nearby and working off some of that expensive meal he just stole, the dog scrambling down the back stairs in full pursuit and then tearing across the lawn, feeling for a fleeting few seconds like a wolf on the hunt.
Not a very unusual morning around here…except when you think that Bandit nearly died last week from chocolate poisoning, and for a few days after getting home from the canine emergency room he was not his usual perky self. But for the rest of the story, read “Double Chocolate Lab”. And remember, if you have a dog, to keep those candy bars under lock and key!